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Why did Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman divorce?

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Quick Answer

Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman divorced due to Wyman's affair with a costar. After learning of the affair, Reagan was willing to accept her back, but the divorce proceeded at Wyman's request.

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Full Answer

Ronald Reagan once boasted that he and Wyman would end their days together, but it didn't take long after the wedding vows were exchanged in 1940 for things to go awry. After testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Reagan returned home to find that Wyman had packed his belongings and placed them in his car.

After Wyman had disclosed the details of her affair with Lew Ayres, her costar in "Johnny Belinda," Reagan told the press that he knew his wife needed to have a fling and he intended for her to have it. Despite his leniency and hope for reconciliation, the divorce came in 1948.

Reagan and Wyman had one daughter together, Maureen, and adopted a son, Michael. Reagan went on to marry Anne Frances Robbins, who was later known as Nancy. He had two children by Nancy.

As of 2015, Reagan remains the only U.S. president to have ever been elected following a divorce. Wyman attended the memorial service for Reagan when he passed away in 2004.

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